Saturn Run by John Sandford, Ctein

Book Review

 


Saturn RunBook Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller, audiobook

Book Series: None

Released: 10/6/15 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Pages: 486  Price: $28.00 hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source:  I borrowed this audiobook from my library.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

The year is 2066. A Caltech intern inadvertently notices an anomaly from a space telescope—something is approaching Saturn, and decelerating. Space objects don’t decelerate. Spaceships do.

A flurry of top-level government meetings produces the inescapable conclusion: Whatever built that ship is at least one hundred years ahead in hard and soft technology, and whoever can get their hands on it exclusively and bring it back will have an advantage so large, no other nation can compete. A conclusion the Chinese definitely agree with when they find out.

The race is on, and an remarkable adventure begins—an epic tale of courage, treachery, resourcefulness, secrets, surprises, and astonishing human and technological discovery, as the members of a hastily thrown-together crew find their strength and wits tested against adversaries both of this earth and beyond. What happens is nothing like you expect—and everything you could want from one of the world’s greatest masters of suspense.

My Review:

I seem to be on a science fiction kick lately and decided to borrow this one from my library last time I was in need of a new audiobook.  Have never read this author before and didn’t know much about the book beyond the synopsis sounded interesting.  Have to say it was a pretty entertaining listen and I’m glad it crossed my path.

First off if you are a fan of The Martian by Andy Weir then you will most likely enjoy this book too.  Saturn Run is a balanced blend of real scientific theory and science fiction.  The author shares at the end that they wanted this book to be as scientifically accurate as possible while delivering a compelling plot.  I do believe they succeeded.  Of course, much of the science went over my head but they did a wonderful job of delivering it as to make a science illiterate like me not feel too dumb. They also didn’t make the story too technical and threw in plenty of drama between the characters to keep most any reader entertained.

Being set in the near future much of what takes place is in a society that much of us will recognize, unfortunately not much has changed in regards to human maturity level as much of this book centers around the Chinese and American’s power struggle over this chance to control alien technology.  It was an interesting choice as to how the author’s dealt with the idea of alien races and in order to not spoil anything I’m not going to say more.  I was a tad disappointed but eventually warmed up to their choice as the most logical and plausible way humans will first interact with other species that call our galaxy home.

I didn’t find myself becoming as attached to any characters as I did in The Martian but did find a few souls to root for during the story.  I have to say though that this book was a far more interesting study in how we as a human race are our own worst enemy.  We need to get over the idea that we are all so different and realize we are all one species.  Until then much of what holds our society back will not be overcome.

Bottom line good read that makes you think and keeps you entertained.  I recommend.

 My Rating: 4 Stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Underrated Reads

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  This week they ask us to share lists on the following:

January 17:  Ten Underrated/Hidden Gem Books I’ve Read In The Past Year Or So

Since I did not read nearly as many books as I had hoped to last year I have a smaller pool of books to pick from for this list than I might like.  Because I was not reading as much last year many of the books I did read were more popular titles so I am going to have to define what underrated means for this list.  Okay, so for my selection I am going to pick books with under 10,000 ratings on Goodreads that I gave a four or five-star review.

Ten books that I feel more people should try.

  1. Tor (Women of Earth, #2) 135 Ratings: This happens to be my favorite indie author and it is so difficult for independent authors to publicise their books and often they simply don’t get the attention they deserve.  This is the second book in this author’s science fiction series and is even better than the first!  Go check it out.
  2. Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John Scalzi 331 Ratings: Now this is quite a popular author and this book just came out on December 31 so the reason it might have so few ratings is that it is simply too new.  It also might have something to do with the fact that it is a book of short stories which sometimes are not as popular as full length stories.
  3. Damian (Stone Warriors, #1) 467 Ratings: This was a new spin-off series from the popular Vampires of America series and was an amazing read.  Again not an indie author per se but one from a smaller publishing house that does not have the resources to put into as large a publicizing campaign as one of the bigger publishing houses.  Excellent author I highly recommend checking her out.
  4. Blood Lust (The Sentinels, #3) 474 Ratings: This a fairly well known romance author I believe but her supernatural series just doesn’t seem to get the loving it deserves.  In my opinion this series is even better than her vampire one.
  5. The Draco Tavern1,762 Ratings: Another short story collection by an established science fiction author, I think. I listened to this book in audio format and found it quite entertaining.
  6. Heart of Stone (Gargoyles, #1) 1,958 Ratings: Ms. Warren is what I consider a popular romance author.  I was surprised to see that this book had so few ratings.  I quite enjoyed this first book of the series but decided to not continue after DNF the third title.  The first one is worth a shot, though, especially if you are a fan of her other work
  7. Dying Bites (Bloodhound Files, #1) 5,881 Ratings: This book was truly a hidden gem waiting for me at my library.  I decided to borrow it on a whim and absolutely loved it! I have recently acquired all the remaining books in the series and plan to binge read them sometime this year.
  8. The Curse of Tenth Grave (Charley Davidson, #10) 6,827 Ratings: What!?!  How can it be that Ms. Jones’s latest book only has that many ratings?  I am blown away by that as I thought this was a much more popular series.  It could be that paranormal books are going out of fashion or some of the readers are getting series fatigue but if you had previously given up on this world I would recommend giving it another shot as some of the magic from earlier books has returned to recent releases.
  9. Secondhand Souls (Grim Reaper, #2) 8,479 Ratings: This is the second book in the Dirty Job series (?) an I found it just as entertaining as the first.  If you enjoyed book one then I hope you decide to give this one a try too.
  10. The Traveler (Fourth Realm, #1) 9,117 Ratings: If you are into political conspiracies and just a tad anti-establishment that you won’t want to miss this series, or at least the first book…  This one is just under my requirement for this list but I think with the current political environment we find ourselves in it might be time for this trilogy to make a comeback.

 

Well there you have my list for the week of books I consider underrated.  I hope that you give some of them a try and feel free to share what books you think didn’t get the attention they deserved in the comments.

 

 

ARC Phantom Kiss by Chloe Neill

Book Review

 


Phantom Kiss (Chicagoland Vampires, #12.5)Book Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Science Fiction

Book Series: Chicagoland Vampires #12.5

Released: 1/17/17 by Berkley

Pages: 83 Price: $1.99 Ebook

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley for an honest review.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Vampires generally aren’t afraid of things that go bump in the night, but Merit and Ethan are extra jumpy after a recent attack by a dark sorcerer. So when they learn that someone is messing with graves in Chicago’s cemeteries, stealing skulls and snatching souls, they fear that their powerful foe might be back for even more magical vengeance.

But after a specter begins haunting Cadogan House—and targeting vampires—they realize that their being taunted by an altogether different sort of monster. A ghoulish villain straight out of the Windy City’s urban legends is on the prowl—and he won’t stop until he’s killed again…

My Review:

I like many fans of Chloe Neill are both sad and excited about the upcoming release that will close this long run series.  Soon it will be time to say goodbye to Merit and Ethan and let them move on to their H.E.A. They deserve the peace and quiet but I sure will miss reading about their adventures.

I didn’t realize Ms. Neill was working on a novella between the last release and the last release so this was a pleasant surprise and a fun read.  We start out with some wedding drama and I loved that first scene where Merit kicked ass, kinda…  You will see what I mean when you read it and for the awesome price of $1.99 (according to the book info page over at Net Galley) I hope you do go out and pick this one up.

I’m actually surprised that this book is coming out in January as the plot seems more fitting to Halloween.  A good old fashion ghost story seems like a better fit for that time of year.

We have the return of many of the series familiar faces as well as a fairly recent addition in the last book.  Bottom line this was a great read, a quick read and those of you who have stayed current with the series will not want to miss this novella.  It will deliver everything you love about the series.

My Rating: 4 Stars

Monday Morning Check-In: Brain Fog

Monday Morning Check-In

Good icy Monday morning everyone.  We had some ice overnight here in eastern Iowa and I am spending my morning staying up to date on the local road conditions for my husband who has to go to work this afternoon.  It is warming up out there so I have hope that he will be able to make it to work just fine.  I managed to finish one of my review books last week but am holding the review until closer to review week.  I have come to the conclusion that I am dealing with a bit of brain fog and it could be hindering my concentration and making focusing on a book somewhat challenging.  It could also that I worried about my upcoming surgery and mounting medical bills too.  Whatever the issue it simply means I am still not reading as much as I like.  So I will be relying on audiobooks to keep me entertained until this brain fog lifts.  Which the fact that menopause arrives next week might not be as soon as I might like…

Speaking of audiobooks, though, I am quite enjoying my current one Saturn Run.  A fun science fiction title that should appeal to fans of The Martian.  Look for that review to come soon as I have about five hours left in that one. Then I am going to be listening to a book that I simply could not get into the print version of.  It will be interesting to see if I have an easier time with it if someone else is reading it to me.  Well, I need to write an update for my other blog this morning so I will leave you all here.

Happy Reading.

Top Ten Tuesday: I’ll get to it eventually…

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  This week they ask us to share lists on the following:

January 10: Top Ten 2016 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn’t Get To (But TOTALLY plan to)

Like many readers. there are tons of books you mean to read but for various reasons haven’t gotten around to yet.  Last year was another reading slump year for me due to stress but I’m surprised that there weren’t that many books that I didn’t get to but planned to read.  Below you will find ten of them, some are more likely than others to be read in 2017 I’ll point those out.

Ten books that didn’t get to in 2016

  1. Blood Vow (Black Dagger Legacy, #2) 2017 for sure: Picked this one up the week it was released and then was promptly diagnosed with cancer, so yeah I didn’t get to it.  Plan to read this one during my hysterectomy recovery.
  2. Archangel's Heart (Guild Hunter, #9)Might read in 2017:  Started this series and then hit some stress with replacing a car and decided to put off continuing the series until my head was in a better spot.
  3. IQ No Plan:  I picked this one up on a whim at BEA.  The author’s signing line wasn’t very long and the book has a beautiful cover.  It is this author’s first book and he was so sweet and excited to be there.  It actually sounds pretty good so I will be reading it eventually, sometime when I’m in the mood for a stand alone.
  4. A Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #1) No Plan:  Another title I picked up at BEA.  I actually made a plan to find this one as it was one of the few books actually in my reading genre offered at BEA.  The second book is already out and I still am not sure when I will get around t0 this one.
  5. Dragonmark (Dark-Hunter, #26; Dragons Rising, #1; Lords of Avalon, #5) 2017 for sure: Some of the reviews were not kind for this book by my favorite author and that made me put off reading the next book in the Dark Hunter series.  I know I’ll read it but wanted to wait for a time when my mood was better and that it would bother me less if I didn’t love it.
  6. Born of Legend (The League, #9) 2017 for sure: The last time I read this series by my favorite author is was two books back to back.  Worked well so I thought I might try it again. Yep, that is what happen, not a reading slump at all.  Conscious decision to wait to read this book.  Totally….
  7. Pasta Wars Unknown:  This was a random BEA pick up that looked interesting.  The synopsis still sounds promising for a light-hearted fun chick-lit read and I will probably pick this up sometime I’m in the mood for that type of book.
  8. Dark Matter Maybe 2017: I have mixed feelings about this one.  I had a bad experience at BEA with the publishing house about this book.  Got yelled at for picking it up to read the inside cover, not trying to take a copy, just looking at it.  They tried to give me a chapter sampler (something I never read and don’t see the point of) and I put my hands up and walked away.  I had no plans to read it at all after that but a friend whose taste in books I respect enjoyed it so I might give it a try.  Probably will dock a star for the way the publisher made me feel, though.  Petty I know but that interaction has already influenced how I feel about the book.
  9. Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass, #5)Unknown:  This is one of the few YA series that I still have positive feelings about.  I will catch up eventually but am almost afraid to now that I have such a prejudice about YA books.  I don’t want my rejection of the age range of this book to influence my opinion of it so I keep putting them off.
  10. Defy the Dawn (Midnight Breed, #14) Unknown:  This will probably be my last attempt at this series.  I used to enjoy it quite a bit but with my evolving taste in genres, it might be time to move on and simply have fond memories.

Well there you have my list what books did you not get around to reading last year?

Monday Morning Check-In: Limbo

Monday Morning Check-In

Good Monday Morning everyone.  I’m feeling a little lost in limbo as I’m 15 days away.  My reading has consisted pretty heavily of audiobooks recently as I work on projects.  I started knitting a blanket in my favorite colors and am pretty into it so thanks to audiobooks I’m not falling behind in my reading.  The quality of those books is another story altogether.  I’m working on the Long Earth series and I think I’m going to be done with it after the third book. The story is simply all over the place, lots of lecturing and wandering plot threads that don’t go anywhere.  While it is interesting I’m tired of the story spinning its wheels.

Net Galley has been kind to me lately.  All of the major releases that I am interested in have been approved!!!  While I’m thrilled I’m also hesitant to start some of them as I wanted to hold some of them for my recovery.  I’m going to be doing a whole lot of not much for several weeks what better way to spend those days then lost in a book I’m excited to read.  One of them releases on my surgery day so I will read that one before but the others have later release dates so we will see.

Chore day at home today and then I need to get my walking in and then some actual reading!

The Long War by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter

Book Review

 


The Long War (The Long Earth, #2)Book Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy

Book Series: The Long Earth #2

Released: 6/18/13 by HarperCollins

Pages:426  Price: $9.99 Paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audiobook from my library.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

A generation after the events of The Long Earth, mankind has spread across the new worlds opened up by Stepping. Where Joshua and Lobsang once pioneered, now fleets of airships link the stepwise Americas with trade and culture. Mankind is shaping the Long Earth – but in turn the Long Earth is shaping mankind… A new ‘America’, called Valhalla, is emerging more than a million steps from Datum Earth, with core American values restated in the plentiful environment of the Long Earth – and Valhalla is growing restless under the control of the Datum government…

Meanwhile the Long Earth is suffused by the song of the trolls, graceful hive-mind humanoids. But the trolls are beginning to react to humanity’s thoughtless exploitation… Joshua, now a married man, is summoned by Lobsang to deal with a gathering multiple crisis that threatens to plunge the Long Earth into a war unlike any mankind has waged before.

My Review:

While I am enjoying this series I have to agree with other criticism that has been made about this book.  That this is an interesting story that is fairly lacking in plot.  The authors have a point (I hope) and seem to feel that it is going to take hundreds of pages and several volumes to get to the heart of the action.  Also, much of this second book feels as if it is simply setting up future books.  Not the first time, and probably not the last, that a second book simply feels like filler.

I had trouble getting into this second book mainly because I had to wait so long for my turn at the library’s copy.  If I had been able to dive right into this one after the first I might have had an easier time remembering who carried over from the first book and who was new.  Around half-way through I was invested enough in this storyline that it didn’t matter that much and I could follow what was going on.

Still, I did enjoy listening to this book as the authors continue to bring up interesting questions of what makes a society, or makes us human, and what would happen if the people were truly free.  The technology continues to fascinate me as well as the idea of exploring parallel Earths with slightly changing variables in its environment, history, and development.  The characters continue to be well-developed and I spend much of the time thinking who they might represent in our own society.  Even though this book was written in 2013 I have to say who the authors wrote as the President reminds me an awful lot of who is our current President-elect…  Not a pleasant indicator of what our country might be in for in the next four-year.

Even though this story felt as if it was all over the place, though still interesting, I am going to continue for one more book at least (last one offered in audio format at my library).  I did get my act together and requested it before finishing this book and able to start right away.  I’m going to see if that makes a difference or not.

My Rating:3 Stars

Fucking Insurance…

For those of you that thought I was having surgery tomorrow.  Surprise I’m not.  If you want to know why insurance companies suck and what happen you can read my other blog.

 

Okay so here is what happen. My husband’s employer changed insurance policies with our insurance company.  Same company, same employer, same doctors covered. Simply the policy changed.  This …

Source: Fucking Insurance…

Zoe’s Tale by John Scalzi

Book Review

 


Zoe's Tale (Old Man's War, #4)Book Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera, Fantasy

Book Series: Old Man’s War

Released: 8/19/08 by Tor

Pages: 355 Price: $8.99 Paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed a copy of this book from my library.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

How do you tell your part in the biggest tale in history?

I ask because it’s what I have to do. I’m Zoe Boutin Perry: A colonist stranded on a deadly pioneer world. Holy icon to a race of aliens. A player (and a pawn) in a interstellar chess match to save humanity, or to see it fall. Witness to history. Friend. Daughter. Human. Seventeen years old.

Everyone on Earth knows the tale I am part of. But you don’t know my tale: How I did what I did — how I did what I had to do — not just to stay alive but to keep you alive, too. All of you. I’m going to tell it to you now, the only way I know how: not straight but true, the whole thing, to try make you feel what I felt: the joy and terror and uncertainty, panic and wonder, despair and hope. Everything that happened, bringing us to Earth, and Earth out of its captivity. All through my eyes.

It’s a story you know. But you don’t know it all.

My Review:

I have mixed feelings about his addition to the Old Man’s War series.  I did like it but just a little less than the others I’ve read so far.  I have a couple of theories as to why that I will go into in a bit.  I’m glad I read it, however, and would suggest if this is your first time through the series that you do as well.  If I ever decide to reread this series I will probably skip this one, though.

So what held me back from loving this book.  The big issue for me was that this is the same story as the previous book but from a different POV.  While it did shed some light on the action that wasn’t shared in the other book what I just feel like I wouldn’t have missed much by not reading this one.  The other drawback for me was that is a YA book, it reads like YA, I found it annoying like YA… I’m over YA at this point in my life.

That being said, I did find it fascinating that Scalzi did an amazing job of channeling a 17-year-old girl.  Kudos to him.  The drama and angst that he showed through his writing is spot on.   A couple of new scenes dealing with Zoe’s boyfriend were simply heartbreaking and seeing what happen when she left the plant near the end were worth the read.  I don’t know if it needed to read a whole second book to get to those parts, however.

The book did make me want to take a break from the series.  The format is changing for the remaining two books, they were written as serial releases, and I think taking a break and then coming back to this world might make it easier to accept any new changes in formatting coming my way.  I still plan to finish up the series but just not right now.

My Rating: 3 Stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Looking forward to reading

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  This week they ask us to share lists on the following:

 

January 3, 2017: Top Ten 2017 Debuts I’m Excited For

 

With my upcoming surgery, I expect to have a lot of uninterrupted reading time once the fog lifts.  Lots of time…  I do plan on catching up on some books I’m sure there will plenty of time for upcoming new releases that catch my eye.  It will all depend on what I’m in the mood to read.  Below some of the titles I can’t wait to get my hands on, some I might have already ;).

Ten 2017 releases that I’m looking forward to reading!

  1. Eleventh Grave in Moonlight (Charley Davidson, #11) 1/24/17:  This book just showed up over on Net Galley and I put my request for review right in.  Not sure if I will be granted access or not but it is always worth a shot.  Even if I don’t get a review copy I won’t be waiting long as the book releases this month!  Love this author and love this series can’t wait to read this one.
  2. The Turn (The Hollows #0.1) 2/7/17: I was totally surprised about this prequel to the now finished Hollows series.  I took a chance and put a request in and was thrilled to be given a review copy of this one.  I was even more shocked to see that it is a full-length book!!! As soon as I finish the Old Man’s War series I plan to dive into this one.
  3. Born of Vengeance (The League, #10) 2/7/17: I will be buying this book as soon as I can drive again and put it on the to-read shelf next to the one I have to read before I can start this book… Sometimes it is nice to read them back to back but this is simply a result of my reading slump last year.
  4. Into the Fire (Night Prince, #4) 2/28/17: The last book in the spin-off series by Ms. Frost.  Was delayed in its release but should be coming up soon!  Looking forward to seeing how we say goodbye to Vlad.
  5. Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson, #10) 3/7/17: I do believe I put in a review request for this title but I am totally expecting to be turned down.  These publishers rarely approve me for a title.  That’s okay I’ll still read it just on my time which might be a year or two after publication…
  6. The Collapsing Empire 3/21/17: This is one title that I can’t wait to read.  I have been on a John Scalzi kick for the last month and haven’t grown tired of his work yet!  This should be a great read too.
  7. Immortal Unchained (Argeneau, #25) 3/28/17: Last book in this series didn’t work so hot for me.  That’s okay sometimes that happens.  Doesn’t mean I’m giving up on the series, however,  I’ll still be picking up a copy of this book to add to my collection.
  8. The Chosen (Black Dagger Brotherhood #15) 4/4/17: While I know I’m going to read this book I’m not sure I’m really excited about it.  The two main characters are one’s I’m not really into.  Fortunately, Ms. Ward tends to do a revolving plot between three centers of action so there will still be characters I want to know about as she sets up future books.
  9. Blade Bound (Chicagoland Vampires, #13) 4/25/17: This is the last book in the Chicagoland Vampire series and I among many will be sad to see it go.  I was ecstatic when I opened my email yesterday and found I was approved for an ARC of this book.  So while I won’t be able to post my review until April I can totally read this book today if I want.  The perks of book blogging :)
  10. Deadmen Walking (Deadman's Cross, #1) 5/9/17: A spin-off series by my favorite author.  Oh hell yes!!!  I wonder if it will be put up for review request on Net Galley?  Must keep my eyes open!

Well, there you have my list of ten books I’m looking forward to this year.  What titles are you excited about?